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The Unappreciated Subway Artist

By May 11, 2012 , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

If you ride the subway at all, chances are that you’ve come across someone singing, playing a musical instrument, dancing, or doing acrobatic stunts in the subway. Let’s face it, we don’t usually bother to look or listen. After all, in most cases it’s a street bum croaking away to a song that has been sung to death or making a sad attempt of playing the guitar. But sometimes, there are people who seem truly talented. Do you stop to appreciate them? 

A few months ago, I saw a group of young, athletic boys take a moving subway train by storm, doing crazy somersaults and back flips with such control and finesse that they could have been in a Cirque du Soleil show. Last month, it was a little boy playing such a beautiful piece on his cello that he could have been the next Yo-Yo Ma. Recently, it was two women singing the opera with such great vocal strength that I could still hear them as the train pulled out of the station (see the video recording I took below). I’m no judge for America’s Got Talent but honestly, some of these people knew how to put on a show!

There’s a famous story about a social experiment conducted in a Washington DC station where a world famous violinist played his best work for 3 straight hours. While his shows would normally sell out with people paying $100 a ticket in the art world, no one stopped to listen to him in the subway station. Maybe it’s the abundance of starving artists around us, or maybe we don’t have the time to stop and watch “street acts” in the busy, grungy setting of a subway station…but it brings up the question, have we become desensitized to art and beauty around us? Can we only appreciate it when it’s in a formalized setting of a hall or theatre? I suspect there is still more hidden talent in the city subways. The question is whether we will bother to stop and appreciate it when we see it. 

A subway act gone ignored
Opera singers in the Herald Square stop
A starving artist playing the guitar at Penn Station (he's there every day!)
What about you, readers? Have you seen any subway acts that have wow-ed you?

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  1. I heard about that violinist experiment before. Very interesting. Your blog is so cute! =)

    Suzie Q

  2. I've seen some of them in the subway. I think these musicians are amazing and also brave. Have you ever run into the 'Saw Lady'? I see her at the Union Square station - she plays music on a saw! This is her: http://youtu.be/lPvTTc7jAVQ

  3. Hi Michelle, thanks for sharing that video. The Saw Lady is pretty awesome!! I loved seeing the expression on people's faces in the video too. These subway artists are certainly talented and brave!


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